Our Privacy Principles
- We will not sell, rent, or license your personal information.
- We treat customer information as confidential, consistent with legal and regulatory requirements.
- We will only share your information with your consent or as provided for in this policy.
- We require any person or organization we share data with to protect customer information.
- We do not allow any person or organization acting on our behalf to use customer information for their own marketing purposes.
- We use customer data for customer service, billing, planning, and grid management, as well as optional customer programs for demand response and distributed power generation (like rooftop solar). We also use it to communicate with you about your account, your utility service, and other programs.
- We track online behavior on our website and through email communications only to improve our programs and services.
- We limit our data gathering to the electricity data recorded by the meter, unless you give us permission to gather additional data by signing up for one of our special programs.
Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions describing how we use and protect the information we collect about our customers.
What customer information do we collect?
We collect customer information based on our business relationship with you and your use of our services. Some examples include:
- Information that allows us to establish your account, including your name and service address. We will also maintain your user name and password if you establish an online account.
- Billing information related to your financial relationship with us, including your payment data, credit history, and social security number.
- Electricity data recorded by our meters.
- Detailed usage data and information if you choose to participate in special programs, such as those related to energy efficiency.
- Information to communicate with you, including your mailing address, telephone number, email address, and your communication preferences. If you have provided us with an email address, we may also automatically acquire information when you reply to or interact with an email we send in order to gauge your engagement with our messages.
How is customer information collected?
We collect customer information in a variety of ways, including:
- When we set up or manage your home or business electric account.
- When you choose to participate in a special program, such as those related to energy efficiency, load management, on-bill financing, or school programs.
- When you use electricity, usage data is recorded by our meters.
- When you interact with our marketing and community awareness email campaigns.
- When we interact with contracted third parties, such as credit or collection agencies.
- We may also supplement information we collect from you with information from third parties when doing so will help us serve you or offer services that we believe may interest you. We will apply this policy to any customer information received from any third-party source.
How is customer information used?
We use customer information (including electrical usage data) to establish and maintain your account and inform you about your energy usage, as well as to manage, provide, customize, and improve our services and business operations. We may use the contact information you provide us to mail, email, call, or text you concerning matters closely related to your utility service and, if your preferences allow, marketing and community awareness campaigns.
We use basic information collected by our website and other online resources to learn more about how the resources are used and to improve and administer our site and services. We also use this information to enable us to deliver information tailored to your interests and preferences.
Do we share the customer information we collect?
We share your customer information for business purposes only. This can include affiliates and subsidiaries, for purposes of providing electrical and customer service. We also share customer information when contracting with third parties to provide customer care, technology, and other services. We require any affiliate, subsidiary, or contracted third party to have data security measures in place to protect and secure this data.
Disclosure of customer information may be required by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) or other government agencies for regulatory purposes. Disclosure may also be required by legal processes, such as a search warrant, subpoena, or court order. We may need to disclose customer information in certain exceptional circumstances, such as to protect against malicious and/or unauthorized access, to protect legal rights, or to address actual or threatened illegal or harmful conduct.
Required data sharing with Hawaii Energy: Hawaii Energy is an independent organization separate from Hawaiian Electric. Hawaii Energy is authorized by the PUC to administer energy efficiency programs. These programs are designed to promote energy conservation and help customers manage their monthly electric bills. We are required by the PUC to share customer and electrical usage data with Hawaii Energy in support of its conservation initiatives. To learn more about these programs, including the Home Energy Report, please visit www.HawaiiEnergy.com.
How do smart meters and grid modernization fit in?
Why we are updating the grid: We are modernizing the electric system by developing a robust, 21st century grid to better serve our customers. Some of the key benefits of this technology include more accurate electrical usage data, faster outage detection and restoration, and customer access to energy usage information. A modern grid also can enable the integration of more renewable energy, such as wind and solar, which will reduce Hawaii's dependence on imported oil.
How we protect the data: We protect your usage data by requiring it be encrypted "in transit" from the meter to us and secured while on our computer systems.
What we do with the data: We analyze electrical usage data up to and including consumption data measured at the meter. We will not analyze your meter data to find out what is occurring in your home without your consent. Instead, we analyze and share aggregated or anonymous usage data that can no longer be traced to an individual or particular account. This data is useful in improving our products and services, as well as collaborating with others in the interest of innovation, research, or other commercial purposes.
We also use data to offer and administer energy efficiency programs, such as distributed generation (for example, rooftop solar) and demand response. These programs are entirely voluntary and require your consent. In these programs, usage data analysis is limited to testing and running the programs. Please see Our Privacy Principles at the top of this policy for how we treat all our customer data, including electrical usage data.
The next step: From 2014 to 2018, we conducted an advanced metering pilot program that allowed customers with smart meters to view their usage data in the "My Energy Use" online portal. The study is complete, and the service provider has ended support for the online portal. We have incorporated what we learned from the pilot and are moving forward with a more comprehensive Grid Modernization Strategy.
How do we ensure customer information is secure?
We apply administrative, physical, and technical precautions to safeguard customer information. In accordance with industry standards, we operate with restricted access to data, and we have implemented commercially-appropriate security controls to protect customer information when it is stored or transmitted. While no computer system is completely secure, we believe the measures we have implemented reduce the likelihood of security problems to a level appropriate for the type of data involved.
How can you access or update your customer information?
It is important that the information contained in your records is both accurate and current. If your customer information changes, please keep us informed. The easiest way to access, verify, or update your customer information is in the Online Customer Service Center. You can also tell us of any changes through the methods in the Contact Us section at the bottom of the home page on our website.
At Hawaiian Electric, we believe that informed consumers make better decisions about energy. That's why we think it is important that you have access to your usage data. We provide your electric usage profile for the past year on your bill and in your account in the Online Customer Service Center. The electric usage profile for your meter can help you monitor your electricity use. Additionally, some customers may participate in optional energy programs and pilots, which may offer access to additional usage data.
After closure of your electric account, we will remove information as required by law. We retain information for backup, archival, or other technical purposes.
How can you manage your email communication preferences?
You can take advantage of our digital services, such as paperless billing, online payments, and important alerts, by registering for an online account in the Online Customer Service Center. Providing your email address will allow you to receive marketing and community awareness communications on topics such as emergency preparedness, clean energy programs, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, sustainability, resilience, and community news.
When we send marketing emails relating to our programs, products, and services, you will be provided the option to update your email preferences or unsubscribe by clicking on the link located at the bottom of the email. The unsubscribe link will take you to the Customer Email Preference Center, which is the quickest way to inform us of your preferences for email communications. If you have registered to access your utility account online, you can update your email preferences via a link in our Online Customer Service Center. You can also inform us that you wish to unsubscribe from future emails through the methods in the Contact Us section at the bottom of the home page on our website.
A word about phishing and fraud
We may send you emails about our services. Likewise, we may from time to time call or text the phone number associated with your account. However, we will never email you or call you to ask for your online logon credentials (your user ID and online password).
We will never ask for payment through virtual currency such as Bitcoin or reloadable pre-paid cards such as Green Dot MoneyPaks. Payments should only be made at the locations listed on the back of your bill or on our website (see "How to Pay Your Bill").
Some scams use technology to imitate our telephone caller ID or links to our website. When in doubt, open a new browser and enter our website address yourself or call us directly. Both our website and our phone number can be found on your bill.
A note about "cookies" and internet browsers
A cookie is a small amount of data that often includes an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent from a website to your internet browser and stored on your computer's hard drive. Each website you visit can send its own cookie to your browser, if your browser's preferences allow it. We use a cookie to recognize you as a return visitor to our site for statistical reporting.
We also collect standard information available from your browser, including the type of browser you use (for example, Internet Explorer), the operating system of your computer (such as Windows), and the path you took to reach our website (for example, from a search engine or a link). This information helps us improve the customer experience and ensure that our website accommodates our users' computer configurations and information needs. We also store the IP address assigned by your internet service provider. We keep this for a limited period of time to analyze and troubleshoot network or access issues if they occur.
We do not store cookies or collect browser data containing your personal information.
A special note about children
This website contains energy-related information that may be of educational interest to children. We do not intend to gather personal information online from or about children. We encourage all children and young teenagers to seek consent from their parents before providing any information about themselves or their households to anyone on the internet.
Changes to this policy
If you have a question
We want to assure you that we are committed to protecting your privacy. If you have any questions or comments about this policy, please call us at 808-548-7311, Monday through Friday, between 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Revised November 2018